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Community makes a splash at Gateway Studio Painting Party for Supporters

In February 2019, the premises of community organisation Gateway Studio, based in the Trinity Centre on Gateshead High Street, was vandalised. The front door of the iconic building was damaged, as well as rooms inside the building and items were taken. The community of Gateshead rallied round to support the organisation and £2,700 was raised through a fundraising campaign ‘Secure the Gateway’, which enabled the locks to be fixed and the building to be secured.

Like many hardworking couples and charities struggling for resources, Gateway Directors, Martin and Debbie Hylton felt the impact of this vandalism in a very personal way. This experience was a great disappointment to Gateway Studio, who are working hard to support the local community not only to improve their health and well-being, but also provide a valuable platform to nurture the talents of young people.

Despite generous financial contributions, there were many people who expressed their wishes to help in a non-financial way through volunteering and donations of their skills and time.

It was decided to host a Painting Party for Gateway Studio Supporters, with event organisation and communications support from Ashleigh King of new start up Days like this are sweet, Creative Consultancy.

Amazingly, around 35 volunteers showed up on the day, with helpers aged from 4 years to over 60 years, helping with a range of jobs, from painting, tiling and gardening, to unblocking drains, cleaning the kitchen and sorting dance costumes.

Nando’s Trinity Gateshead even kindly offered to help, by feeding the hungry volunteers. This was a huge hit with everyone, including the young dancers who went along to pick up the food and thank the restaurant in person for their generosity.

Marco, the Patrao (Portuguese for ‘Head of the family’) at the Gateshead Trinity Store shared how Nando’s like to keep their fundraising local and offered a warm welcome to Gateway Studio staff.

Gateway Studio Artistic Director and Newcastle University Creative Arts graduate, Martin Hylton said:

“It was great to see the local community of Gateshead and our young people rally around to help. We feel like we have a brand new studio! We were delighted that Nando’s were able to support us on the day, and can’t thank them enough for providing some much needed refreshments.”

Organisers Ashleigh King and Debbie Hylton, were thrilled with the turnout: “Asking people to give up their time, particularly at the weekend is no small task, so it was amazing that so many people turned up to help – there was a lovely atmosphere and community spirit.”

When asked about why they had decided to come to offer their support, the volunteers all gave similar responses: they felt that they were all part of the Gateway Studio family and wanted to work together to make a make a space they could feel proud of which would be tidy, clean and inviting to all who use it.

Dancers from newly launched, Capua Gate Dance Company (based at Gateway Studio and sponsored by Sport Tyne and Wear), helped to tidy, paint and tile a new Girl’s Changing Room for their female dance colleagues. “Gateway Studio is our home, and we have been part of the Gateway family for over seven years. We want to improve the building of the place we create new performance pieces within.”

Two young dancers were surprised when while sweeping leaves outside they each found a £5 and £10 note, which shows that volunteering, as well as providing a feel-good factor has its own rewards!

The Painting Party has come at a good time as a new programme of dance classes begins! With Adult Contemporary, Afrofusion, House Dance and Yoga to name a few! Gateway Studio are offering a FREE dance class for anyone who would like to give dance a go! All ages and abilities are welcome – use the code GATEWAY19 when booking.

#livelifeddance - and make a splash!

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